It was the first thing that came to mind when I was asked by a radio host to characterize the difference between great service and innovative service.  Lights are important since they provide us with the capacity to see (or see better).  They help us traverse instead of stumble; read instead of squint; and be productive instead of lethargic.  Candles do the same things but with style.  If you want a romantic dinner, you don’t just turn on the light.

Innovative service is candle-like; great service is light-like.  Both represent people doing their best to deliver an experience that delights customers.  Spotlighted service builds loyalty; candlelit service creates advocacy.  Lights are stable and bright; candles are shimmery and passionate.  People who deliver great service focus on being good at what they do; people who deliver innovative service seek to add ingenuity to what they do.

I very much enjoy the consistency and focus on excellence found at most Marriott hotels…from their squeaky clean rooms to their courteous front desk to their obvious zeal to be responsive to my needs.  But, the Hotel Monaco leaves me with a story to tell…from their zebra print bathrobe in the closet to the gold fish in a bowl on my desk to the décor that makes me think I am a participant in a captivating tale.

Great service is excellent; innovative service is enchanting.  Next time you have an opportunity to shine a light on great service, try lighting your customer’s candle instead!

Photo Credit: Flickr via Jose Pestana